Jul 25, 2011

\\ Blog Tour \\ Review | Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley

Title: Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult - Romance
Publication: June 9, 2011 by Razorbill
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Sparks
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: When Willow Grey was nine, her mom dropped the bomb of ultimate betrayal: they would be moving from their small town in Georgia to glitzy Las Vegas. Willow was devastated to have to leave her best friend, Max, behind. So she decided to take control of the situation: she told Max to relax, to let his eyelids droop and then she said: "Max Montgomery, for as long as we live, you and I will be best friends..."

Now, at seventeen, Willow and her mom move back to their hometown and Willow is determined to pick up where she and Max left off. But even though he's still her best friend, his heart now belongs to someone else—and Willow realizes that what she feels for him is so much more than just friendship. For the second time in her life, Willow finds herself using hypnosis to get what she wants. But what starts off as a harmless experiment soon spirals into chaos and Willow is forced to wonder: Is the heart really something you can control—with mind control? Cover: I like the colors, but I wish Willow eyes looked the way they were described in the book.

Thoughts: I wasn't too sure what to expect when I signed up for this book tour because I must admit, I didn't remember if I read the summary or not. So when I finally got this in the mail, I was pretty excited to read it. I have not read Lipstick Apology like many others have, so this author was new to me. I was happy to find that Crush Control was a fun and sweet story that I really couldn't get enough of.

Willow and Max have been best friends since before they were born. Willow at nine years old, hypnotizes Max that they will be best friends forever before she and her mom move to Las Vegas to start a new life. Now, eight years later, Willow and her mom return home and Willow is ready to pick up things with Max where they left off and maybe even start something new. What Willow didn't expect was Max to have a new girlfriend and that all she would be was the best friend. Determined to win Max's heart, Willow thinks of a plan that only a teenage girl would be convinced of working: she hypnotizes the hottest guy in school to fall head over heels for her, to make Max jealous. Everything spirals out of control pretty quickly and Willow must figure out how to fix everything she's done.

Willow is a fun and wacky girl that I liked from the start and her different successful attempts at hypnosis had me laughing out loud. I got sucked into the story pretty quickly because of the ease the story was written in and the great relationships Willow has with her loved ones made me adore the characters. Not only does she have an awesome relationship with her mom, but she makes unexpected friends who care about her, and her relationship with Max is really sweet. And although we didn't get a chance to see the "real" Quinton, his part was pretty funny, if not a bit ridiculous.

The story moves along quickly enough and I was engaged the entire time. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next, and everytime Willow tried something new to change her situation, I was enjoying myself. I was pretty satisfied with the conclusion, and there were a few sweet surprises that I really liked. Overall, this is a great beach read that I'm sure many will enjoy. I definitely had a good time watching Willow grow as a character and even found some interest in hypnosis, which I am still not sure I believe actually "works". I will definitely be reading more from Ms. Jabaley and recommed Crush Control to all YA lovers out there looking for a quick, fun read!

Jul 14, 2011

Review | FLCL, Volume 1 by Hajime Ueda

Title: FLCL by Hajime Ueda
Series: FLCL, Volume 1
Genre: YA - Manga
Publication: September 16, 2003 by Tokyopop
Format: Paperback
Source: BorrowedRating: ★★★

Synopsis: Naota's life isn't simple: he lives with his eccentric father and grandfather in a two-story house above a family-owned bakery in a town marked by a gigantic factory at its heart. The factory looks suspiciously like a hand iron, replete with a steam release at the top -- not the most typical landmark. Life is already strange enough, but to top it off, his older brother's ex-girlfriend starts making extremely suggestive passes at him ... and an impish, playful alien smacks him in the head with a bass guitar and then infuses herself into his family.

Thoughts: I hadn't picked up a manga in quite a while, and felt the need to after seeing Alison's Manga Monday post week after week. I'm not sure if FLCL (pronounced Fooly Cooly) was the best place to start because...well its a weird story.

There isn't too much to say about the actual characters. There's plenty but they didn't really stand out too much, although they all seemed different in their own way. Naota was a quiet sort of boy, and I thought he was cute. The other characters are drawn simply and similarly, so at some points I got them a little confused.

Then comes the actual plot. If you read it, you won't really understand what the heck is going on because it jumps from past to present in no particular order and with no real explaining. So after a few pages you're all sorts of confused. The dialogue is kept simple, but like the plot it sort of seems to be everywhere as well, and it pretty much just adds to the confused.

To be honest, I can't really say what it was about it, but I did like it. The drawings aren't all that special or unique, the plot is terribly incomprehensible (really, the only way I knew what was happening and where the story was really going, was because of the summary at the beginning of the book,) but the characters all seemed unique, and I couldn't help but like the crazy girl who rides the Vespa and has a guitar for a weapon.

Thankfully, this manga only consists of two volumes, so I won't be terribly confused for too many books. Just one more and hopefully some understanding. I know it is based on the anime, which I have not yet watched, but I am excited to because the dialogue is different, although I've heard its just as difficult to understand.

Jul 11, 2011

Review | Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Series: Delirium #1
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA - Dystopian
Published: 02.01.2011 by HarperTeen
Pages: 441
Source: Library

Summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Cover: I love it. It's one of my favorite colors because of the color, the image and the beautiful writing.

Thoughts: I was really interested in what Delirium would be like. I'd heard great things about if from other bloggers, and I love dystopian novels, so I was sure I would enjoy it. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did and now I must patiently await the second novel in the series, because I want to find out what will happen next.

Lena lives in a world where love is a disease. At the age eighteen, everyone is cured, matched and married off to their partner to lead a normal, love-free and cured life. Lena anxiously counts down the days to when she will finally be cured, and can finally move beyond the past she has been haunted with all her life. Then, Lena meets Alex, a cured young man who causes a deep impression on Lena. After several encounters, Lena and Alex fall in love, and together they discover how to live in a world where feelings are forbidden and where love is the greatest danger.

I had a hard time liking Lena at first, because she was so brainwashed, following rules, never questioning her life and hoping to be cured as quickly as possible. Her best friend, Hanna, is the opposite and actually doesn't mind bending the rules every now and again. Their friendship has developed over many years, so when Hanna decides to sneak out to a party, Lena feels like she has no choice but to try and save her. Not only does Lena do the unthinkable, and sneak out, but she agrees to meet Alex the next day. And that is where Lena's life begins to change. Small lies, sneaking out, secret messages and hideouts begin to form Lena's new life and she begins to come alive. Quickly, she finds herself in love with Alex, a sweet and lovable character who cares, respects and appreciates Lena as a woman.

The first part of the book moves along a little slowly, introducing us to this new world without love. Not only does love between marriages not exist, but parents do not love their children, friends do not care to spend time with one another and people just live practically without any feelings. There are no hobbies to enjoy, no foods to savor, no music to love. Oliver was able to shape such a enthralling world devoid of any emotions, that I could not help but be sucked into the story. As the story unfolds, the pace quickens and we are able to enjoy the blossoming relationship between Lena and Alex. But we know that cannot last forever; the days for Lena's cure is coming quickly and somehow they must find a way to change what will happen or be cured of the love they have learned to live with.

I loved how Lena changes throughout the book, how different her thoughts are in the end compared to the beginning. I was a little disappointed in Hanna though, because I wanted her to remain a brave rebel as well. The ending and everything leading to it was so intense I could not put the book down. I was afraid of what would happen next and the ending left me shocked. It is such an unbelievable ending, such a cliffhanger that it will leave you speechless. Even after you have finished the book, you will be thinking of it for days, trying to wrap your mind around it all.

This is definitely a must-read for YA lovers, and dystopian lovers. Delirium is an engaging, intense and beautiful story about forbidden love and what one young girl will go through to keep the love she has found alive.
Favorite Quote: "...life isn't life if you just float through it."

Jul 6, 2011

Review | Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

Title: Happy Birthday to Me
Series: Birthday Trilogy #1
Author: Brian Rowe
Genre: YA - Paranormal/Romance
Published: 04.11.2011 by CreateSpace
Pages: 322
Source: From author for review

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!

High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.

All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...
Cover: I like it! I like the colorful candles, and that there are so many of them. I also really like that the title and authors' name are formed by the smoke of the candles, it looks really cool.

Thoughts: As soon as I read the summary, I knew I wanted to review Happy Birthday to Me. Not only was it something totally different and unique, but it sounded like it was going to be lots of fun. I expected the laugh out loud moments, but not the events that made me tear up a bit. I thought it was going only to be a little mysterious, with the paranormal aspects thrown in here and there, but I was surprised at the heartfelt moments that kept me glued to each page.

Cameron has the perfect life. He's good looking, a star basketball player, has a beautiful girlfriend, and his family has money. His family life is a little less perfect with his father always working and his sister always practicing away on her violin, but Cameron is happy, confident and full of life. One day though, Cameron looks in the mirror and sees a man. Not the 17 year old boy that he is, but an older version of himself. He immediately freaks out and tries to find out what is wrong, but no doctor can tell him of a cure. Instead he must live each day carefully, and as he gets a year older with each passing day, Cameron finally begins to realize what really matters in life and how every moment that you spend with your loved ones is truly special.

Like many others have said before me, I did not like Cameron. At first. He's your ordinary, popular and good-looking jock. He's a jerk with a gorgeous snobby girlfriend and he only worries about his looks and when he'll finally sleep with his girlfriend. I sort read the beginning slowly because I was having hard time connecting with him or anyone else. So when he first started aging, I thought "that's what you get, butthead..." But Cameron starts to change, and as I continued to read, I couldn't help but become a little attached to him and feel sympathetic because of what his condition had him going through.

His family and friends, although at first a little odd in the way they treated Cameron, begin to change as they realize that Cameron isn't getting any younger and that he will quickly become an old man. Although they have a hard time accepting what's happening to him, they must face it and support him in any way they can. I enjoyed how each relationship blossomed as the days went by, and how their love became more apparent as Cameron became older. His changes in personality only helped each relationship grow stronger and that definitely helped in liking him more.

I loved that I didn't know how it would all end, and I must admit that I was a bit surprised with how the story concluded. Actually, I was a lot surprised, and it left me with lots of questions. I know the second book in the trilogy will be released in just a few months, but I cannot wait to read what happens next. The authors writing was great, and the book held a combination of humor and seriousness, that keeps the reader flipping through the pages until the end. I definitely recommend this book to YA and paranormal lovers; this is a fun, unique read that I'm sure many will enjoy. 
Quote: "But of all the horrors entering my daily life, what scared me most of all was something I hadn't foreseen happening for at least another week or two. A gray hair."